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31 October 2011

Happy Halloween
 Newsletter Introduction for October 31, 2011

       -Posted by sykes-

It's been a very exciting weekend. It's been exciting in the way being charged by a rhino is probably very exciting, just in slow motion. At this point, I think Tommy and I either have everything fixed (my 99.9% fixed declaration of last night being a bit premature) or almost everything. Again, I'm really sorry for the mess and I really appreciate the remarkable patience you all have shown.

So, onto more pleasant topics. Tomorrow is November 1st. That's an important date in the calendar. Among other things, it's the beginning of what has become our most popular promotion each year: buy a Peterson pipe and get a free tin of Peterson tobacco with it. Buy five Petersons, get five tins; by thirty, get thirty and so on. Since today is the update day and we are ever so close to tomorrow anyway (a mere eight hours from now), we're fudging it slightly and we're kicking off the offer a day early.

It seems obligatory to observe the fact that it's Halloween today. I'm not dressing up to give treats tonight, but I am looking forward to sitting on the porch with my wife and doling out Reese’s and Snickers to neighborhood kids. It's something I look forward to each year, an opportunity to sit outside in the cool Autumn air and smoke a pipe, greet neighbors and generally be that friendly gent that my wife is working so desperately hard to make of me.

So, we have two great things to offer up in addition to a great update: the website works again (hooray!) and the Peterson Promotion is starting a day early. On top of that, you'll find a bevy of beautiful briars this particular Monday, ranging from Petersons and Savinellis to Dunhills and Caminettos, plus eighteen estates and much more!

 Sykes Wilford: Founder/President

Posted by sykes at 4:00 PM | Link | 0 comments

28 October 2011

Website upgrades
 A little downtime tomorrow night

       -Posted by sykes-

We've been working on a big project for the past couple of months that will, ultimately, radically improve the experience (well, we hope so, at least!). Tomorrow night (Saturday October 29th) at 9pm, we're taking the website offline for a couple of hours for the upgrades. We'll be restructuring a lot of the data in the database, so we can't take orders at the same time as we roll out the new stuff.

Initially, the big changes that will be visible will have to do with how you log into the website. If you have an existing user account, we'll make your username your email address and your password won't change. If your password fails to meet security criteria, or if you've been using the website without logging in, we'll email you to set the password for the account we'll create for you with your extant order history. This is being driven by a few things:

1) Security. While we've always considered security of the utmost importance, the internet, and security threats, have changed since this part of the code was written over ten years ago. We want to get ahead of the curve and make sure we offer top notch protection for your data.

2) An improved user center experience. Right now, when you log into your user account, you have a fairly limited set of things you can do. Yeah, in this day and age, that should be way cooler. Initially, we'll give you more control over your information and order history. More importantly, the architectural changes will let us bolt on new features over time, make recommendations specific to you, offer you quick access to the items you order repeatedly and, we assume, offer up a bunch of cool stuff we haven't even thought up yet. Think pie charts of your pipe collection from broken down by country or by brand, or perhaps how much you've bought of different blends laid out for you to look at. Once we have this piece, which is sort of like the steel frame of a building, done, we'll be able to fill it with all sorts of cool stuff.

3) New, faster and easier checkout with more options. This will be available immediately. It will also fix a few problems that crop up now and again with carts dropping items and whatnot.

So, you likely won't have to do anything, but you may have to reset your password and you'll now be logging in with your email address instead of your username.

Please email us or use the comments section of this blog for any questions you might have.

We definitely hope that you like the changes!

Posted by sykes at 6:03 PM | Link | 2 comments

27 October 2011

Scaring Cassidy
 Newsletter Introduction for October 27, 2011

       -Posted by eric-

I had originally intended to weave today's intro around the subject of the cabaret I attended up in Wilmington this past weekend, the various acts of which ranged from the traditional fan dance to a highly comical burlesque reinterpretation of one of the more infamous scenes from The Silence of the Lambs. As North Carolina, of all states, has of recent years instituted a ban on smoking in bars, clubs, lounges, etcetera, this would have given me an opportunity to let my inner curmudgeon come out to play, as well as brag shamelessly about all the fun that was to be had in spite of the late revival of fashionable statism. I shall instead, however, simply suffice with relating to you more recent, and even more absurd, anecdote.

Yesterday, here, in the pipe library, on the long table near the center of the room, there was placed a very small piece of ham. On top of the very small piece of ham, was placed an even smaller piece of chocolate, and positioned closely over both was one of the bright lamps we typically use for inspecting pipes. The small bit of ham was placed there because Adam placed it there. Ditto the chocolate. The lamp was partially my fault, as I had jokingly suggested to Adam that the heat it gave off might be of aid to his efforts, forgetting for the moment just who I was talking to. Adam himself was crouched down at the end of the table, attempting to conceal himself beneath its edge, armed with a rubber band stretched taught and at the ready. He was waiting, with admirable if misguided patience, for his quarry, a lone, buzzing fly which had somehow managed to find its way into our climate-controlled office, to take the bait.

It was at this point, as I had taken in perspective all of that which was transpiring before me, that I turned to Cassidy, who was busying herself about more productive tasks amongst our shelves of briars, and asked, "Cassidy, is this what you expected when you transferred over here from the warehouse?" She handled the question well, I thought, laughing at Adam's antics, yet deigning to actually answer, and then soon, though not so soon as to appear as if she were fleeing, exiting the room with poise as well as arms full of pipes.

She will do well here, I think - though she still has not yet witnessed Adam donning his ceremonial pope/chef hat, or been challenged to try out one of his various accompanying culinary experiments (Ted and I still shiver at even a passing mention of the "C loaf" debacle). Only time will truly tell, I suppose.

Turning back to the subject of armloads of pipes, however, it's time for us to bring you this Thursday's update. Today you'll find fresh selections of Stanwells, Petersons, Savinellis, Nordings, Neerups, and Brebbias; artisanal briars from Ardor, Il Duca, and Ser Jacopo; and lastly, an exceptional bevy of beauties by Tom Eltang, Rolando Negoita, Peter Matzhold, and, new to Smokingpipes, Michael Lindner.

Eric Squires: Copywriter

Posted by eric at 5:00 PM | Link | 0 comments

24 October 2011

Holiday Chatter
 Newsletter Introduction for October 24, 2011

       -Posted by adam-

While walking around the mall on Sunday, I noticed the staff hanging Christmas decorations all over the place, and then realized that construction had already begun on Santa's workshop, centered near the food court. In years past, this all took place as early as September, but it seems this year they've waited a bit to get everyone in the holiday (shopping) spirit. I'm not there yet, though. We've had some cooler mornings, but even when I've started the day out wearing a sweater, the air conditioning has wound up back on by the time I'd run a few errands. I really get home-sick for Indiana in October because there are so many fall festivals going on, and it's easier to get in the holiday mood when the air is crisp. Everyone around here seems to already have given up on Halloween before the 31st even arrives (at least most of the stores, since signs of 50% off are posted all around). Not everyone forgets about Thanksgiving, though most stores do because there is no money to be made on gifts. Out with the pumpkins and in with the peppermint candles, you might say.

Both Halloween and Christmas have their respective pipes, it seems. While Dracula never cared for relaxing with a pipe, a corncob seems appropriate for many a scarecrow in various shops. Snowmen and Santa are also shown sporting a cob or clay in many postcards and little figurines, though Santa seems to be savoring a fine blend less often today than he did fifty years ago. A few artisans make Halloween pipes, and dozens of companies make Christmas pipes as gift presentations, but what about Thanksgiving? I would be surprised to discover there were no pipes at the first Thanksgiving in America. Tobacco was already a cash crop in the early Colonial times, but merchants never seem to be stocked to the gizzard with Pilgrims and Native Americans sharing some tobacco on a postcard. A turkey smoking a pipe would be funny, though perhaps less historically accurate. While not exactly the kind of advertising merchants want to invest in, it is an image which puts me more in the mood for the holidays that will be here shortly.

With a decent amount of the fall season still around, we've got some cigars and pipe tobaccos to think about smoking outdoors before the cold front comes in, and quite a variety of pipes to think about as gifts or added collectibles. Chacom, Radice,  Castello, Dunhill, Vauen, Savinelli, Peterson, and Sebastien Beo all have wonderful new offerings. Not to be forgotten are the eighteen estates.

Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector

Posted by adam at 4:31 PM | Link | 0 comments

20 October 2011

Pipe Lessons No. 65 and 66
 Newsletter Introduction for October 20, 2011

       -Posted by ted-

Part of the fun of the pipe smoking hobby is learning new things, though, admittedly, we are quite often being instructed as much by our mistakes as we are our fellows. Like, don’t take apart a pipe while it’s hot - that’s a rookie mistake I made once upon a time. Here’s another, which I learned just this past weekend: Look inside the pipe’s bowl before putting tobacco in it.

On Saturday, Shelly and I decided to drive up to Wilmington, NC to hang out with Sykes and Alyson, and to have dinner at a particular tapas restaurant. I’d already been there myself once before, a week prior, as a matter of fact, with Sykes and Alyson, but I was pretty eager for Shelly to partake as well. Like most people, we both like finding new places to eat. Shrimp, scallops, lamb, kangaroo, beef, fried pickles, macaroni and cheese, beet salad; all were available, even all as part of the same meal. Albeit fairly eclectic, which I suppose is part of the fun, the restaurant's assortment of appetizer-style platters made for a super tasty dinner. Plus the ambience is remarkable, in a dimly lit, jazz-lounge sort of way.

Earlier in the evening, on the porch of Sykes and Alyson’s new home, the four of us were chit-chatting before heading to dinner. I had brought along my new favorite pipe in a small, leather pipe pouch, a Tokutomi Sandblasted Blowfish (2004), my souvenir from this year’s Richmond Pipe Show. So I pulled the thing out and began packing it with Germain’s King Charles Mixture from a freshly opened tin.

Here I should mention that my wrist and hand have been bothering me lately. It’s carpel tunnel syndrome or something. Maybe I’ll have a doctor check it out one day. In the meantime I’ve taken to wearing a hand brace, something loaned to me by Adam, and popping four 200mg tablets of ibuprofen a few times a day. Also, while I’m doling out credit, Pam gave me a jar of Tiger Balm. I’m feeling better now, thanks. But that Saturday? Not so much. That’s why I threw four ibuprofen pills in the pipe pouch along with the Tokutomi and pipe cleaners, which at the time seemed better than putting them in my pocket. This was my first mistake. Or, rather as I like to see it now, it was establishing a foundation for a learning opportunity.

King Charles Mixture is a tasty, light bodied blend that features only a pinch of latakia. It’s not flavored in any way, and as a consequence many smokers find the blend a bit insipid. However, I like it very much and have become quite familiar with it. What I’m trying to say here, folks, is that I know what this stuff is supposed to taste like, which is why I was pretty concerned right off the bat, that evening in Wilmington, when the smoke took on a most unpleasant, certainly unfamiliar anise flavor.  Puzzled, irritated, and thoroughly disgusted, I gave up on the bowl and emptied the chamber into the nearest ashtray I could find on the porch. This is something I rarely do. I hate to waste tobacco. Hate it. Once emptied, I examined the pipe with my nose and was filled with anxiety at the likelihood that I’d just ghosted my new favorite pipe with some wicked awful helping of the foulest tobacco. This sucker was going to have to be reamed back to the briar.

On the way to the restaurant, I was still completely mystified as to why my last smoke, with such a familiar blend, could have been so terrible. Obviously I was missing something. As I put the pipe back into the pouch I discovered what was missing exactly: a pill. That’s right. I smoked an ibuprofen. And I lived to tell about it. We all laughed about it for the next few hours. But I also cried a little inside, to be honest with you.

Pipe Lesson #65: Don’t pack your pipe without checking the bowl. Sounds rather pedantic, until you smoke something you really, really shouldn’t. Pipe Lesson #66: Prohibit putting pills in a pipe pouch. Otherwise you’re in for a potentially killer smoke, in all the wrong ways.

Which reminds me, we’ve got a killer update rolling out this evening. New pipes from the likes of Peter Heding, Rad Davis, Randy Wiley, Claudio Cavicchi, and Peter Heeschen, as well as new works from Tsuge, Peterson, Savinelli, Stanwell, Winslow, and Ashton. Rounding things out here, you’ll find another 60 fresh estate pipes. And not least of all, we're re-introducing to Erik Nording's "Hunter Blends" which come in four distinct mixtures: Fox Hound, Pointer, Beagle, and Retriever.

But seriously, don’t smoke ibuprofen.

Ted Swearingen: Sales Manager

Posted by ted at 4:00 PM | Link | 1 comment

17 October 2011

Still Smoking in South Carolina
 Newsletter Introduction for October 17, 2011

       -Posted by eric-

In many parts of the country, a man can no longer enjoy a smoke with his pint, even at his favorite watering hole. Self-declared “more sensible” heads have decreed a man is not fit to make such decisions, either for the sake of his own well-being, or on account of that of the bar staff. (Being a former bartender who acquired the "former" bit when smoking bans destroyed the business I was working for, I might be inclined to disagree with the latter as much as the former.) Fortunately, South Carolina is not as of yet one of those parts of this country. In fact, as I discovered a few weeks ago, even a modest bit of indoor pyrotechnics is A-Okay around here. Namely, that is, that there is a hookah lounge not far from my neighborhood which features weekly fire dancers, along with other staff members taking part through a bit of occasional fireball-blowing and fire-eating. Having heard of this, how could I not be curious?

I went to check it out, naturally, and all I can say is that I approved all-around. Those present seemed to be enjoying themselves quite nicely without any need of supervision by other adults. Those of us who enjoyed smoking, enjoyed smoking, whether it meant puffing on a pipe, lighting up a cigar, taking drags off a cigarette, or sharing a hookah with several acquaintances. Those who do not smoke, did not smoke. Those who make a point of hating smoking, were, as far as I could tell, graciously absent. For the entire time I was there, I heard not a single cough, nor did I witness any individual waving their hand about while making with a conspicuously disgusted expression.  When a bartender or barmaid was seen readying themselves to blow a billowing plume of flame, people stood back to watch, and likewise when a dancer came out whirling torches about. According to some people, in having been denied their guidance and wisdom, none of us should have come out of that place alive. Through some apparent miracle, however, all that happened was that a large number of adults had an entertaining and relaxing evening, acting on no one's cognizance but their own.

All that having been said, it's on with today's update. We have for you today a broad selection of briars by Vauen, Peterson, Savinelli, Brigham, Luciano, Caminetto, and Johs; a tidy trio from Posella, and nine exquisite English numbers by Dunhill, and a nice batch of both English and Italian estates; as well you'll find a new tobacco pouch humidifier under accessories, as well as a selection of new cigars.

Eric Squires: Copywriter

Posted by eric at 4:08 PM | Link | 2 comments

13 October 2011

Smoking in Colonial Williamsburg
 Newsletter Introduction for October 13, 2011

       -Posted by adam-

My lovely wife decided to head up to the Richmond pipe show with me this past weekend, partly because she wanted to go, and partly because I spend so much time in my shop weeks before a show that we don't get to spend much quality time together. Knowing that Colonial Williamsburg is only a little over an hour away from Richmond, I asked her a couple months ago if we could visit there for two days (promising her extra shopping during the Las Vegas [West Coast] pipe show). Some people like Star Wars, some love the latest gadgets, and I've always been a fan of the 18th century. Thankfully, she was excited about the idea as well, so we left the show early on Sunday to head off together to my version of Disneyland.

We checked into our reconstructed 18th century home - which she thought was very cute - and I was happy to see a working fireplace a mere ten feet from the bed. Making our way around the historic town, we snapped pictures, did some shopping, and investigated the many eating establishments (many of which date back to the mid-1700s). Dinner was amazing. Understand, the food was a far cry from what I expected, but old-recipe cocktails and the fact that we were relaxing and refreshing ourselves in a room where George Washington and Thomas Jefferson themselves had dined -lit only by candlelight - and there could be no better atmosphere for me. Doing my best to ignore all of the tourists walking around in football jerseys and spandex, by taking in the surroundings and hundreds of costumed employees I felt like I was really stepping back in time. I didn't bring my clay pipe, though, as I had been in so many smoke-filled rooms the previous few days that the fresh air was a nice change of pace (but, oh man, did I still wish I had taken it with me). After dinner and libations, we headed back to our room around 11:30, and called the front desk for someone to come light our fireplace. I was concerned by the thought that the fellow they sent to us was in actually charge of such things, as he asked me if I had a flashlight to see if the damper was open and had the manner of someone who could barely buckle on his (period appropriate) shoes. Cautious that I am, I asked about a fire extinguisher, and he responded by looking confused.

"As long as you have water in the sink, you'll be OK".

Having gifted us with that bit of 18th-century wisdom, he lit the fire and stepped out. We pushed the chairs together, opened a bottle of wine, and spent some time enjoying conversation with each other in front of the crackling fire before heading to the feather-pillows and a long rest. It had been quite a day; we had dined, walked the grounds, talked with employees and craftsman, and really felt like we were back in time. Our slumber was interrupted, however, by a piercing fire alarm about an hour later. Nothing brings you back to reality like firetrucks and police lights flashing outside early in the AM. Much to my wife's displeasure, we were - again - in a smoke filled room. Apparently our friend from earlier on didn't check that the damper was open all the way, and once the fire died down, smoke had come pouring into our room. My poor wife. Given that we are already looking forward to going again next year, I've already promised her that we wouldn't have a fireplace in the room. Looking back on it now, I could have fired up my tavern clay fireside and no one would have even known.

Coming back to the twenty-first-century, we have a nice selection of pipes for you. You can browse over our selection of Beckers, Michael Parks, Tsuge, Maksim, Tonni, Ardor, Ser Jacopo, Brebbia, Nording, Savinelli, Peterson, Stanwell, and sixty estates. My only advice for tonight would be that if you decide to fire up a bowl in front of your fireplace, make sure the damper is open.

Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector

Posted by adam at 4:45 PM | Link | 0 comments

11 October 2011

Holiday Gifts for Pipe Smokers
 Is it the thought that counts?

       -Posted by alyson-

Even though Halloween is still weeks away, retailers already have Christmas trees, wreaths and other festive decorations on full display hoping to get us all thinking about the Holiday Season early. Really early. Being a woman, this is an easy task for their marketing masterminds. The mere mention of shopping, a large sign that screams "SALE" or perhaps a 10% off flyer in the mailbox gets me drooling like Pavlov's dogs. And even though I resent the fact that retailers are pushing Christmas before I can get the pumpkins and mums on the porch, I wave my white flag in defeat.

Of course, the first person on my list is my husband. He can be difficult to buy for, so I often try to find something unique or unusual and more often than not, it has something to do with pipe smoking. So in my search for the perfect holiday gift I've found this...

Pipe Fire

The PureFlame Stainless Steel Pipe Mobile Fire Piece! Stunning, isn't it? For a mere $233.33 (including free shipping!) I can mark the first and most difficult holiday gift off my list. But, like any good wife I'm going to check in with a few of his friends and colleagues before I take the plunge.

Adam: "We're not going to sell these, are we?"
Ted: "It's pretty but who needs an open flame running in the living room, like, ever?"
Eric: "You do know that a lot of Pavlov's dogs died just in preparing them for his experiments, right?"
Alyson: "I do know that, Eric. What I don't know is how that has anything to do with the gift I am asking you to comment on."
Eric: "Who am I to stop anyone from being lured by low, low prices and putting a stainless steel container of flaming grain alcohol in the middle of their living room?"
Alyson: "Urgh."

Posted by alyson at 2:08 PM | Link | 4 comments

10 October 2011

Return from C.O.R.P.S.
 Newsletter Introduction for October 10, 2011

       -Posted by ted-

Having just returned from the 27th Annual Conclave of Richmond Pipe Smokers Show, which was held this past weekend at the extravagantly luxurious Hilton hotel, it is now safe to say that, despite rumors to the contrary, the turnout was, as far as I could discern, quite robust. There were a few who experienced obstacles that proved too difficult to hurdle or, for others, the lengthy, time consuming, and expensive travel proved too much, which taken together did keep some of the ‘usual’ pipe makers and collectors from attending the show. Nevertheless, it was evident from having had numerous conversations over the course of the two-and-half-day congregation with some of the many visitors that stopped by our table that for many attending this year, the CORPS show was in fact their first - a promising sign to be sure. All in all it was a good time and, as ever, entirely worth the six hour car ride there and back. If you’ve yet to make it out to a Richmond show, I highly recommend that you do.

Now, having finally returned to the office, I’m dragging my feet a little this morning, having consumed far less coffee than I ought to have in order to jumpstart out of a fog of still-lingering exhaustion.  A pipe show generally has me pretty well worn out by the end, as well as typically requiring that we forgo all the usual weekend relaxation that helps unwind after a work week. Though attending pipe shows is always a pleasure, for vendors and pipe makers alike, it is a working pleasure. But I’m sure we’ll be all rested up by tomorrow - so don’t worry about us, and be assured we'll be happy to see any of you at the next event, old hands and newcomers alike.

We’ve got a splendid update to share with you this evening, as we add to the site new works from the likes of Chacom, PS Studio, Radice, Castello, Dunhill, Vauen, Savinelli, Peterson, and Sebastien Beo. I bought, and smoked, my first Sebastien Beo pipe this weekend, and I have to say that it’s an incredibly fantastic smoking pipe and certainly worth its modest price tag. Also, we’re putting up another eighteen estate pipes this evening, so be sure to take a look there for a remarkable deal, of which there are many. And if that weren’t enough, we’re also introducing new cigars from Tatuaje. Last, but not least, W. O. Larsen's 2012 blend will launch tonight, in addition to Villeger 1888 After Dinner, and Cocktail Hour. New tobaccos? Yes, please.

Ted Swearingen: Sales Manager

Posted by ted at 4:02 PM | Link | 0 comments

06 October 2011

 Newsletter Introduction for October 6, 2011

       -Posted by eric-

Somewhere out there on the world-wide web, on a Tumblr blog most likely, I strongly suspect there is now a photograph of myself, smoldering pipe hanging from my mouth, looking into the camera with an expression of studied patience as I am eagerly embraced by an oddly-dressed young woman I had never met until about five seconds previous. Let me explain: Tumblr is a blog website well-known as the chosen haven for the hipster sub-culture, that mid-teens-to-mid-thirties-scenesters scene which is readily recognizable by an obsession with irony, novelty, and haphazard fashion sense; the tobacco pipe has, in recent years, been absorbed into the hipster arsenal as a status-symbol of particularly rarified hipster-ism; the two young women who ambushed me this past weekend were, beyond any doubt, hipster girls in full regalia.

The weather had just taken a cooler turn, you see, from the full-on 24-7 heat of summer, the tourist crowds had thinned to something more readily manageable than a zombie horde, and I had recently acquired new boots which needed breaking-in. As such, a long stroll along the boardwalk seemed in order, and it was there, as I passed by one of the various drinking holes which appear intermittently along the way, that they suddenly set upon me without warning. It wasn't about my pipe at first, a small, dark-finished Sebastian Beo, which had gone unnoticed in my hand; they were merely young females being friendly towards a passing stranger of the opposite sex. It happens all the time throughout Western civilization. Then I stuck my pipe back in my mouth, and one of them immediately exploded.

"You smoke a pipe!" she exclaimed. "I love you!" Do get hold of yourself, woman, I thought, but she chose to get hold of me, instead, latching firmly onto my arm while passing her camera to her friend. If you've ever been attacked by a litter of over-enthusiastic kittens, you will likely understand perfectly the state of mind I was in at this point. If you ever happen upon a photo of a shaven-headed, bearded, bespectacled thirtysomething fellow in a double-breasted jacket being pounced upon by a beaming twentysomething female in ladybug-themed thigh-high socks, and note his carefully understated expression, you will no doubt know for certain. And if you're ever wandering along the street, down a boardwalk, through a park or public garden, enjoying a pipe when suddenly a girl in similarly ludicrous dress pounces on you, don't panic. It's simply the fashion of the times, not (entirely) the sign of lunacy as it may initially appear. Just play along, and smile for the camera. Consider it something of a youth-oriented catch-and-release program - and if nothing else, a far better alternative to the fake-cough-and-dirty-look one being run by other, rather less entertaining segments of the population.

Proper preparation always helps, of course, and in that spirit we today have for you: fresh briars from Stanwell, Savinelli, Peterson, and Ascorti; artisanal pieces by Poul Winslow, Randy Wiley, L'Anatra, Ashton, Kevin Arthur, and Claudio Cavicchi; and furthermore a fine selection of Eltangs, Tsuges, Rolandos, and even a few Knudsens, as well. Finally, while supplies last, we're making a special offer with any purchase of our broad selection of Savoy humidors, throwing in a free cigar sample pack containing two La Aroma de Cuba cigars, and one San Cristobal all together a $30 value.

Eric Squires: Copywriter

Posted by eric at 4:00 PM | Link | 0 comments

03 October 2011

Time Flies...
 Newsletter Introduction for October 3, 2011

       -Posted by adam-

I can't believe it's already October, can you? They say "Time flies when you're having fun", but it also buzzes like a jet overhead when we are busy. It seems like it was only a few weeks ago that Sykes was in Europe, and Eric moved into my office (I still call it my office), but he's been in here for quite a while now. He remarked, just this morning, that he was surprised he could still get sunburned in October (which he did, this past weekend). Up until this statement, I thought it was still September, though the change of seasons can be felt during the cooler mornings which have set in as of late. In truth, while autumn's arrival in most of the country is marked by the changing colors of the leaves, here in the milder South we're more likely to take notice when the tourist population shifts from hordes of beach-goers to groups of golfers.

Summers in Myrtle Beach are always swelling with tourists that drive like they've slathered sun-tan lotion on their brakes and slippery hands alike before heading out onto the busy roads. Although the tourists are fewer this time of year, it doesn't mean the crazies aren't still around, however. Just yesterday I was running errands, and approached a tricky intersection on a split road that needs to stop for cross traffic, and looked to my left to see a car (which looked like Eric's) driven by an old man, going the opposite direction down the one-way road, approaching the stop sign. Of course I looked over to him in a combination of confusion and irritation because he was a huge risk for everyone there, but he simply looked over at me, threw his hands up and gave me a laughing smile that said "I'm old, I'm going the wrong way, but I don't really care" before making a left-hand-turn without a concern for anyone else. No doubt, this will be Eric in another forty years, though he will be contently smoking a pipe and probably won't even look over or offer apologies. [Editor's note: I learned to drive in New Jersey, Adam. I don't need to wait for senility to take its course in order to drive according to my own arbitrary rules. - Eric]

Cigar fans will enjoy our update of E.P. Carillo cigars tonight, while Lampe Berger has other offerings for the home or office. Eighteen estate pipes along with new pieces from Dunhill, Caminetto, Luciano, Posella, Johs, Brigham, Savinelli, Peterson, and Vauen. For your sweet tooth, we've also added little red-licorice pipes to bring back fond memories!

Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector

Posted by adam at 4:47 PM | Link | 0 comments

 Making it easier to find stuff

       -Posted by sykes-

We've been playing with some new functionality for the website to make it easier to navigate some of the larger categories. We figured that if we were getting tired of scrolling through 333 Petersons, likely you were too. Essentially, in addition to the other criteria we maintain for each pipe (or tobacco or cigar or whatever), we've started tagging them with words that are common to bunches of pipes. In the case of Peterson, this might be 'Aran' or 'P-lip'. Hopefully, this will make things easier and faster to find on the site if you know what you're after. And, of course, if you're just browsing through lists of pipes, you can still do that too.

So far, Peterson is the only category to have tags. It's a pretty huge data entry project to go through all 3,500-odd products on the site to tag them, so we'll only address those that are in particular need for now. Savinelli and Stanwell will be next among new pipes; Cornell & Diehl and McClelland will be next among tobaccos.

So, play with it and see whether you like it. Please let us know your thoughts (the comments section of this post would be great, or you can email us) and, if it does anything weird, please let us know. Thanks!

Posted by sykes at 11:23 AM | Link | 0 comments



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